Dukinfield Baptist Church
Finding that it's never too late to go through the waters of baptism
A church celebrating signs of revival in people's lives
Our baptistry is a great asset to our church. In the last five years it has seen a few of our own baptisms and it’s been borrowed by other churches for theirs. It has been used during the telling of the Easter story for children as the open resurrection tomb, and it was opened during seasons of Pentecost to show children what it is and tell them all about ‘The Birthday of the Church’. Even though the baptistry gets some use throughout the year, every time we open it it still requires a lot of cleaning as months of dust and dirt fall through the cracks of the lids, which act also as the stage floor. It takes a lot of blowing away the dust before it can filled with nice, clean, fresh (hot!) water.
During summer 2016 we witnessed four of our ladies, slightly more mature in years, get baptised. What was really exciting and refreshing for us as a church was that although two of these ladies were new to faith, two had been church members for many years. After Easter, we spent time looking for evidence and meaning in the resurrection of Jesus. We studied critically, asked questions, and found that we were able to open up more honestly to ourselves, each other and to God. Through this time of seeking new and fresh faith in Jesus, we asked questions about baptism, and asked people personally if and why they had, or hadn’t, been baptised. Early on, we gave the opportunity for those who were new to the church to be baptised, and two ladies responded. But as the weeks went on, our discussions went further and another two ladies were convicted that, even though they had been part of church for years and were involved in serving others, they had never gone through this ‘rite of passage’ with Christ. Their renewed faith needed some dust blowing off, to allow new living water through.
This wasn’t, however, an easy step for them to take. What does it mean for all these years of faith up to now? What about my infant baptism? Will it mean anything to me to be baptised now, or am I just doing it for show? Isn’t baptism only for new Christians? Isn’t it enough at this stage just to pray a new prayer of commitment to God? We wrestled with these questions and more, but at the heart of it all we found the obedience of Jesus. Baptism was important for Jesus! Otherwise why did he get baptised as late in life as he did, knowing who he was? If it’s good enough for Jesus, then I’m not too good for baptism. Through it all we held on to this simple command and promise (spoken by Peter on the day of Pentecost): “Repent and be baptised, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call.” What these ladies did through being obedient in baptism has been an encouragement and a sign of a greater revival within our church. God’s Spirit is at work even in this dusty old place.
For your consideration and reflection:
Even if you’ve been in the church for years, it’s never too late, and we’re never too mature to go through the waters of baptism if we have never done it. It may simply be for you, as it was for some of us, about catching up on what God has already done in your life. See it as an opportunity to meet with God in a new way, to practically pray for God’s Spirit to be living and active in your life, a chance to be refreshed by God’s Living Water as you continue to die to the old, and be raised to the new. Blow off the dust and be filled again.
NWBA Church Life Officer
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